"Excellent performance of Jonson comedy"
by Matthew Partridge for remotegoat on 14/11/15

“The Devil is an Ass” produced by Mercurius, and running at The Rose Playhouse, is one of Ben Jonson’s lesser known comedies. Young devil Pug (Lewis Chandler) persuades Satan to send him down to London, in order to let him see how many Londoners he can corrupt. As it turns out, they need little help in that department. Fitzdottrol (Michael Watson-Gray) is content to allow Wittipol (Mony d’Inverno) a chance to woo Mistress Fitzdottrol’s wife (Beth Eyre) in exchange for an expensive cloak. Wittipol fails, but continues his attempt at seduction anyway. At the same time, Fitzdottrol is himself seduced by the fantastic schemes of crooked promoter Meercraft (Benjamin Garrison).

It’s not hard to see why “The Devil is an Ass” isn’t more well known. Indeed, the convoluted plot, involving mistaken identity and disguises, is hard to follow at times. However, some excellent acting means that it is enjoyable, even if you don’t get every twist and turn. Watson-Gray delivers a star performance as the greedy pantaloon, campily gloating at the prospect of riches and boasting of his new servant’s origins. It is also a joy to see Chandler’s utter bewilderment at a world that is worse than the place he departed. Designer Felix Trench and Director Jenny Eastrop use the site and some nifty lighting work to add a supernatural element.

Add Your review?

Have your say, add your review

Other recent reviews by Matthew Partridge
The Seagull
Comic moments paradoxically heighten tragedy by Matthew Partridge
A Flea In Her Ear
Entertaining production of Feydeau's farce by Matthew Partridge
Our Country's Good
Strong production of modern classic by Matthew Partridge
Much Ado About Nothing
Excellent performance of Much Ado by Matthew Partridge
Hear Me Howl
Serious ending undermines charming comedy by Matthew Partridge